The fracas that ensued following the full time whistle at Stamford Bridge last Monday was a bad tempered end to a bad tempered game.
The “Battle of the Bridge” as the game has since been named, saw the end of Tottenham’s hopes of winning the league. Chelsea, who at this stage of the season have nothing to play for, took particular delight in their London rivals falling short.
Spurs, despite seeing their title challenge end in West London, still managed to set a new Premier League record. Never before in the Premier League has a team managed nine yellow cards for nine separate players. The ill-discipline from Tottenham will automatically result in an FA fine, given the number of bookings.
The North London club could also be without Moussa Dembele for up to ten games, as the Belgian midfielder appeared to make contact with the eyes of Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
Following the full time whistle, as the players left the pitch, a tussle began at the entrance to the tunnel. The melee saw Chelsea interim boss, Guus Hiddink, fall to the ground after being shoved, accidentally mind, by Tottenham’s Danny Rose.
Hiddink had been attempting to restore order and reportedly was livid that some of his staff had become involved. Reportedly, the Dutchman bellowed “Remember who is the boss” at Chelsea massage therapist Manoel Ribeiro as he became involved.
Speaking after the game, Rose had no knowledge of sending the 69 year old tumbling:
“I couldn’t tell you what happened, it was just handbags being thrown”
During the commotion it was unclear who or what had instigated it. Replays were more focused on Spurs’ boss Mauricio Pochettino dragging substitute goalkeeper Michel Vorm away from Diego Costa. The alleged cause of the fight has only recently been revealed.
According to Matt Law in the Daily Telegraph, it was former Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas who began proceedings. Law reports that Fabregas was “slapping the groins” of Tottenham players and staff until being hauled off the field by Hiddink.
While Dembele was almost certainly be charged by the FA it is unlikely that Fabregas will face any sanctions.
“The Spaniard is alleged to have slapped more than one Tottenham player and member of staff in the groin area, sparking a number of verbal and physical reactions.
‘Hiddink revealed afterwards that he got hold of Fabregas because the midfielder was shouting “threatening” words in Spanish that would have been understood by the majority of the Tottenham management staff and Érik Lamela, who had trod on the hand of the former Barcelona man.”
Law is generally a reliable source around Stamford Bridge, particularly with regard to Fabregas. Law reported in the wake of José Mourinho’s exit from Chelsea in December that Fabregas had been one of his last allies within the dressing room.
Chelsea defender Gary Cahill was of the opinion that despite the farcical lack of discipline during the game, the FA should take the emotion of the tie into account.
“We came in afterwards and everyone’s emotions soon settled down. As far as we were concerned, when the final whistle went that was the end of it.”